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Unbridling the Western Film Auteur

Contemporary, Transnational and Intertextual Explorations

Edited By Emma Hamilton and Alistair Rolls

According to Jim Kitses (1969), the Western originally offered American directors a rich canvas to express a singular authorial vision of the American past and its significance. The Western’s recognizable conventions and symbols, rich filmic heritage, and connections to pulp fiction created a widely spoken «language» for self-expression and supplemented each filmmaker’s power to express their vision of American society. This volume seeks to re-examine the significance of auteur theory for the Western by analysing the auteur director «unbridled» by traditional definitions or national contexts.

This book renders a complex portrait of the Western auteur by considering the genre in a transnational context. It proposes that narrow views of auteurism should be reconsidered in favour of broader definitions that see meaning created, both intentionally and unintentionally, by a director; by other artistic contributors, including actors and the audience; or through the intersection with other theoretical concepts such as re-allegorization. In so doing, it illuminates the Western as a vehicle for expressing complex ideas of national and transnational identity.


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7. Adaptation, Transculturation and the Western Auteur: Louis L’Amour, Peter Collinson and The Man Called Noon (Lee Broughton)


Lee Broughton 7 Adaptation, Transculturation and the Western Auteur: Louis L’Amour, Peter Collinson and The Man Called Noon abstract The Man Called Noon (UK/Spain/Italy, 1973) is a European co-production. It is also an adaptation of a Western novel of the same name that was written by the American author Louis L’Amour in 1970. Its director, Peter Collinson, and producer, Euan Lloyd, were both British, and a British company, Frontier Films, oversaw the film’s production. However, The Man Called Noon was shot on location in Spain, and Spanish and Italian financiers contributed towards the film’s production costs via the involvement of the Films Montana (Spain) and Finarco (Italy) production companies. As such, reviewers and film histori- ans have struggled when trying to determine a sense of ‘national identity’ that might be attached to the film. Lloyd has confirmed that the film’s ‘look’ was ‘down to Peter’ (quoted in McSharry and Hine 2005b: 45), and Thomas Weisser (1992: 206) and Steve Mason (1994: 5) have both made similar critical observations that serve to imply that Collinson was a ‘hands-on’ director who should perhaps be considered to be the film’s true auteur. The little writing that does presently exist on The Man Called Noon has tended to suggest that the film is best understood if it is approached with the conventions of the Italian-made Spaghetti Westerns in mind. For example, David Deal calls the film a ‘spaghetti western character piece’ (2007: 45) while Mac McSharry and Terry Hine advise that the film is...

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